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Hannah Fox · Faraway

Studio Visit

We’re drawn to the mesmerising way in which Hannah Fox’s oil paintings explore simple observations – light, colour, texture and space.

The Melbourne-based artist’s latest body of work, ‘Faraway’, features a collection of abstract works that reflect her impressions of the local environment, and will open at Ours Pop Up Space in Northcote on July 26th.

20th July, 2017

Inspiration in the studio. Styling – Andrea Moore. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

Melbourne-based artist Hannah Fox. Styling – Andrea Moore. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

'Fallen Light #2'
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An oil-on-canvas artwork from Hannah’s forthcoming exhibition, which opens next week. ‘I continue to be mesmerised by light, and the shift from daytime to evening,’ she tells. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

'Lyrical Place #1'
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Hannah describes this work for her show ‘Faraway’ as a ‘sensory impression of texture and movement of a landscape memory.’ Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Hannah’s studio was once a dilapidated old garage with a leaking roof, but it had good bones. With a lot of elbow grease, it’s now a bright and functional work space. Styling – Andrea Moore. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

Studio details. ‘I love the depth of oil colour and the way the paint feels on the brush,’ tells Hannah. Styling – Andrea Moore. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

Works-in-progress for the forthcoming show. Styling – Andrea Moore. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

‘Painting for me is a process of exploration – a way of seeing, thinking and problem-solving. I feel I am my truest self when I paint,’ says the artist. Styling – Andrea Moore. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

'Warm Whispers #1'
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An artwork from ‘Faraway’, inspired by ‘the delight of sunshine and warmth on your face on a crisp morning walk’. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

‘I make a lot of mess in my studio, and indulge in the act of painting without any inhibition. It’s my absolute sanctuary,’ says Hannah. Styling – Andrea Moore. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

Studio details. Styling – Andrea Moore. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

'The Dance of Autumn'
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This year, Hannah has been especially influenced by the change of seasons. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Her calming palette includes dusty pinks, ochres, terracotta reds and deep indigo blues. Styling – Andrea Moore. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

Hannah uses a combination of palette knife and brush to render the compositions. Styling – Andrea Moore. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

Jo Hoban
Thursday 20th July 2017

‘I have learned that I make better art if I trust my instinct and let go of reservations.’

Hannah Fox feels she was quite young when she studied Fine Art at Monash University. ‘I absolutely loved the course, as it opened up my mind. At the same time, it made me utterly petrified!’ the artist recalls.

After graduating, Hannah furthered her design studies, ran an events business, and worked as a graphic designer and gallery assistant, before she eventually found her way back to the paintbrush. Her circuitous path has made her a well-rounded artist; Hannah loves to lose herself in the act of painting, but maintains a grounded sense of the big picture, by embracing the business side of being an indie creative.

The artist paints from her backyard home studio in Northcote, Melbourne – her husband Dave surrendered his chance for a shed, and instead renovated the property’s old garage to provide Hannah with a bright and functional workspace! Apparently, Hannah did allocate two-square-metres of space (sometimes mistaken as merely a ‘cupboard’) for Dave’s tools!

As a mother of a trio of young boys, Hannah’s studio time is limited to three sessions a week. ‘I’m pretty disciplined with my work. After a mad morning of school and kinder drop-offs, I ignore the domestic delights of running a busy household, and head straight to the studio!’ Working predominantly with oils on canvas, Hannah’s work is deeply intuitive. ‘I have learned that I make better art if I trust my instinct and let go of reservations. This has resulted in my abstract approach.’

Hannah’s painting is particularly informed by her recollections of bush landscapes. Her impressionistic style is evocative of dappled sunlit earth, peeling bark on tree trunks, and the leaves that scatter the bush floor. ‘I use paint to explore the contrasts of nature – light and dark, bright and muted, smooth and rough. Using a combination of palette knife and brush to render the compositions, I both control the medium and allow an element of serendipity.’ She explains.

Her new body of work, ‘Faraway,’ sees the artist further develop her ideas of ‘sensing’ a space rather than merely viewing it. The title refers to both physical places that one escapes to, and faraway thoughts or reflective headspace. For Hannah, this headspace is often found on regular wanders along her local Merri Creek, so she is donating two per cent of all exhibition proceeds to the local environmental organisation, Friends of Merri Creek.

Faraway’ by Hannah Fox  
July 26th to August 6th
Opening Night Thursday 27th July, 6-8pm
Ours Pop-up Space
277 High Street, Northcote

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net